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Club News

MANAGER: Not taking anything for granted

Paul Simpson on doing the job properly and keeping the fans on board

3 May 2023

Club News

MANAGER: Not taking anything for granted

Paul Simpson on doing the job properly and keeping the fans on board

3 May 2023

United’s goal difference leaves them in a healthy position as they look towards the Sutton away game next weekend but football history is littered with final-day stories that stretch the realms of reality – with the Blues having been involved in a few of their own over the years.

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And that’s why manager Paul Simpson is refusing to take anything for granted, with a play-off not yet, as far as he’s concerned, a done deal.

“Not a chance, we can’t take anything for granted,” he insisted. “We’ll be going ton Sutton to go and make sure we do it properly. We can’t afford to not do it properly.

“We’ll see how everybody is this week and look at what Sutton do, then pick a shape and a group of players who will hopefully be able to go and do the job properly, which allows us the possibility of three more games after that.

“We’re back in on Monday and we’ll put this one behind us. I’ll review it then we’ll make sure the awards do is a celebration because I don’t think anybody at the start of the season would have put us in the play-offs.

“I still think there are a lot of things to celebrate and I think the fact we’ve had over 10,000 home fans here gain, they know this group of players have done really well.

“I'm delighted with what this group have done for 45 games, but I'm telling you now we are not guaranteed to be in the play-offs.

“You saw it last season when Bristol Rovers went and smashed however many they did on the last game of the season and Northampton missed out. We won't take anything for granted.

“We knew the season was going to go over 46 games . We're not as fortunate as Orient where it finished for them after 42, 43, whatever it was. We’ve got to make sure we're right.

“We'll prepare properly this week and if we're not good enough to go to Sutton and get the right result, and an eight-goal swing does happen, then the truth is we don't deserve to be in the play-offs.

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“We can say that it's been a good season, but it will be disappointing if it falls away. I've enjoyed the season, but I don't want it to finish, I want it to carry on.

“I thought we had, the second-half of my time in 2003, so from December of 2003 going through to 2006, those years were absolutely fantastic.

“We’ve scratched the surface here, we've actually woke a few people up and we're giving them something to be encouraged about. I can’t thank the local people, local businesses, everybody inside the club, I can't thank them enough for what they've done to create a positive feel about the place.

“Now we have to do it properly, whatever happens next week and whatever happens if we can achieve play-offs, we have to start again next year and we've got to keep this positivity and try and keep the feel good factor at the place.”

And, as he stated, the response from the fans has been beyond fantastic.

“Again, in the second half on Saturday they were outstanding,” he said. “They made an incredible atmosphere. I could see they weren’t happy in the first half, but the truth is I wasn’t happy either.

“That’s why we changed it. We’ve just got to stay together and stay positive. It’s really easy to criticise and be negative, we have to stay together.

“If you want to help us, stick with us. If you don’t, don’t come along and be involved in it because we want people who want to be positive for this football club and the team.

“The players need to be positive and that’s what it’ll be about this week. We’ve got to make sure our mindset is right so we go to Sutton and put on the best performance we can that sets us up for another three games.

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“The lads came out after the game because it was planned that way. The players wanted to thank the supporters, that was the big thing. To go around with the family.

“I did actually say this week that I wasn't going to do it because I want to have at least one more home game and I would like the lap of honour in a final somewhere where we can celebrate properly. I'm quite sure if we do that properly, then there'll be lots of opportunities to celebrate.

“That was an opportunity to thank over 10,000 supporters who've come and supported us, absolutely brilliant, particularly in the second-half and we go again Monday and I'm hoping there's a celebration to be had somewhere further down the line.” 

“I think these fans have always been out there because I remember my days as a kid coming here and watching the team with big crowds here,” he added. “I remember my days in the Conference, my days in League Two when we were champions, the supporters came out.

“For whatever reason, I can't affect whatever happened before, they’d lost the interest in it. Now we’ve stirred them up again and we have to keep them. I want to keep them with us, whatever happens, I want to keep them for next season.

“Whether that will be League Two or League One, I want to keep them with us and let's see if we can try and make this football club better. I think it is brilliant, when I look around this ground now and they've got all these sponsorship boards and new stand sponsors.

“We’re being sponsored by local businesses, everything's in a positive state. Now we need to make sure we finish the season positively.  

“That’s why you can’t take anything for granted in football. And people have to remember we're Carlisle United. We aren’t going to do anything straightforward. We'll make it difficult.

“We've made it difficult for ourselves. You look at the other games and see that Bradford scored a 96th minute winner. They've still got an opportunity, like Stockport, of getting automatic promotion.

“We have to go to some and we've got to make sure we do our job properly. If there's an eight-goal swing next week in Mansfield’s favour, then the truth is that after 46 games, we don't deserve to be in the play-offs.

“So it's as simple as that. We've done really, really well, I've been so proud of everything everybody's done, but I want more. I want three more games after next weekend.

“What we’ve done so far is a fantastic achievement, when you think about where we were last year, and we're trying to build something better here. I remember my days at Derby County when I went in with Steve McClaren and we had a three-year plan.

“And unfortunately, as daft as this sounds, we got to a play-off final in the first year, so expectations go through the roof. And I know because we had second place for a while, people's expectations start to raise - and maybe ours do - maybe because we think we can achieve more.

“I always knew the last 12 to 14 games were going to be really, really difficult because of the fixtures, and the opposition so far away in Gillingham, Orient, these types of games.

“But I think we’ve done ok, but just ok, and we have to make sure we give ourselves something to hang on to, and go and try and achieve a play-off place and see where we go from there.”

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